NoViolet Bulawayo: Biography

NoViolet Bulawayo

12 okt 1981

NoViolet is the first black African woman and the first Zimbabwean to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, NoViolet did her college in U.S. She also acquired a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Cornell University and was the recipient of Truman Capote Fellowship.

Born as Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, she took the pen name of NoViolet Bulawayo. ‘No’ means ‘with’ in the southern African language Ndebele; Violet is her mother’s name. NoViolet lost her mother when she was 18 months old and as a honour to her mother she chose this name. Bulawayo is the place where she grew up.

NoViolet emigrated at the age of 18 and lived with her aunt in America. After 13 years she returned to her country only to find it in a devastating state. She was shocked to see the struggle her own people were undergoing. NoViolet firmly believes that the government had failed to address the basic needs of people and that there should be a new leadership.

NoViolet’s father aspired that she would become a lawyer in US but it was only after she won at 2011 Caine Prize for African writing that she understood that her future is in writing. NoViolet writes about the issues faced by women and she is bold in her criticism about President Robert Mugabe.

NoViolet’s debut novel, ‘We Need New Names’ won her many awards and recognitions. It won the Etisalat Prize for Literature, the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, second place in the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, the National Book Foundation ‘5 Under 35’ Fiction selection and the list goes on.

NoViolet is currently working as a lecturer of fiction at Stanford University. She is also one of the trustees of the Pan-African literary Writivism Board. NoViolet’s story, ‘Hitting Budapest’ won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing. Highly talented NoViolet has already started working on her next memoir project. She is working on a collection of stories capturing the tragedy of AIDS.